Water Smart Schools VI is a comprehensive drinking water safety and waste reduction program being made available to seven public schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands through Eco-Schools from 2022 to 2024. Project goals include:
1) Increased access to clean safe drinking water for Virgin Islands school children, teachers, and staff, 2) Reduced amount of plastic waste generated in schools, specifically through the reduction of plastic water bottles, 3) Increased literacy and awareness for Virgin Islands school children, teachers, and the wider community about issues of water quality and testing, water conservation and pollution, sources of freshwater, and plastic waste, including impacts on health and the environment.
This project will be guided by an advisory committee of diverse community and local government partners who meet quarterly. It was made possible with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Project architects and the leadership team include partners from the Virgin Islands Conservation Society (VICS), Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC), Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, University of the Virgin Islands (VIMAS), and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Coastal Zone Management (DPNR).
School Benefits Include:
1) The installation of permanent water bottle filling stations at seven public schools.
2) The distribution of 3,000 reusable water bottles to participating students, teachers, and staff.
3) Distribution of water quality testing kits for classrooms and facilitation of the Water Heroes water quality testing curriculum.
4) Participation in Eco-Schools, including a school environmental audit, the opportunity to receive bronze-level certification, and ongoing educational support.
5) Training workshop for educators to learn about the issues and the curricula shared through this program.